Thursday, July 23, 2015

340. Smallville Treasures: VINTAGE BISQUE DOLLS

An assortment of tiny bisque dolls picked from a local thrift shop, sold as a lot. The most precious is the 2nd Made-in-Japan doll with strung bent limbs and head, dressed in an original crochet dress (missing one sock)-- just a mere 3.5 inches tall! Even smaller is the first doll with a polka-dotted dress with sewn-on clothes, maybe part of a dollhouse family. A newer doll with an antique look is this 2 in. souvenir baby dressed in a baptismal outfit, with the name of the recipient attached to the dress. It came with a tiny stroller of woven bamboo. When it comes to dollies, artistry knows no size!

Friday, July 10, 2015

339. Worth Flipping Over: FARRAH FAWCETT GLAMOUR CENTER

You can't miss those flyaway bangs and that wind-tousled hairdo. It's Farrah  Fawcett! The beautiful star who gained worldwide stardom in the hit TV crime series, "Charlie's Angels" first aired in 1976. Farrah was cast as one of 3 crime-busting beauties (Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson were the other 2) working for big boss, Charlie. As Jill Munroe, Farrah captivated the audience with her beautiful sunshiny looks--and locks--that had every girl  styling their hair in a Farrah Flip.
Soon, many toy companies began taking note of Farrah's strong following and in no time at all, acquired licenses to make 'Charlie's Angel" action figures and a separate Farrah Fawcett fashion doll, all capturing her distinct square-jawed face and thick, flyaway mane. . 
But this Farrah Glamour Center beats them all. Made in HongKong in 1978, it features a vinyl bust of Farrah, with rooted synthetic hair that one can style to duplicate her famous flip--using rollers, combs, curlers and brushes. The likeness to the star is very good, but the soft vinyl used has a tendency to droop after some years, causing her chin to droop as well. Farrah--voted as one of the Top 50 TV Stars of All Time-- passed away in 2009 after a 3-year bout with cancer. Thankfully, glamorous bust will allow me to remember her and her famous Farrah Flip with every stroke of the brush.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

338. He Is The Greatest Collectible: MUHAMMAD ALI BOXING PUPPET

A very amusing puppet I found on ebay--it's a plastic-headed boxing doll made in the likeness of Muhammad Ali or "Cassius Clay" in his younger days. Good thing the dealer was from the Philippines, so I coaxed him into pulling this out from the auction and selling it to me outright. Never mind if it's missing a glove. Made in Hong Kong in the late 60s, this mechanized puppet has a lever that you push hidden under his robe--that triggers him into a jabbing frenzy!
Boxing puppets like these are still being made today (I saw one recently, with the likeness of Saddam Hussein), but this vintage example has a charm that made me float like a butterfly and which stung me like a bee! :-). Muhammad Ali--you, indeed, are the greatest!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

337. ATOMIC MIDCENTURY CLOCK

In the 50s, free-form shapes became very popular--pieces of furniture and other decor items assumed the shapes of kidneys, boomerangs and amoeba. This funky-looking, fully-functioning clock followed that trend with its irregularly-shaped, vinyl colored body. I got this in a flea market in China, where wind-up clocks of this shape and form are still being produced. This clock is still tick-tick ticking after over 50 years, to remind us of the atomic age that changed the way we live, and the way we watched time passed by!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

336. TUMBLING CLOWN ACROBATS

Look at these "Tumbling Clown" plastic acrobat mechanical toys that I found with original box intact. Dating from the 60s, they were made by a plastic toy firm in Malabon--proudly Philippine made!
The pieces are surprising intact after all these years, save for a missing plastic tab or two. The assembly is very simple--one had to snap together the plastic framework pieces to form a sort of a tower. 
Then, all you had to do was set the clowns--which were connected together with a see-saw-like crosspiece--on the topmost ramp of the tower. A little nudge will cause the clowns to "tumble" down in a teeter-totter motion, complete with a jingle-jangle sound--no batteries, no electricity needed! Just plain, simple fun! Just the way childhood should be!
Now, let me do that again....

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

335. Among My Souvenirs: VINTAGE FILIPINA DOLL

In the 1930s--our peacetime era--tourism in the Philippines boomed. many bazaars and curio shops mushroomed in the Malate area, selling Philippine-made souvenirs to domestic and international tourist. Capiz shells, abaca products, woodcarvings, buri hats, banig (mats) and woven jusi and pina fiber were top sellers. For kids,there were a few options--yoyos and pull toys (calesas) for the boys, and for the girls--  Philippine-made dolls of composition with cloth bodies attired in baro't saya, like this example, in very good condition.
These were most likely outsourced from contractors who made these at home, products of Philippine cottage industry. They are very fragile, as the composition tend to crack over time, but this charming doll has retained its color, its dress and even its label. She is dressed in a stiffened abaca skirt and top, with a panuelo to complete her 'dalagang bukid' look.
These vintage Philippine dolls occasionally are seen on ebay--like this small 11 inch creation. Thank heavens, they are not that expensive and demand is not too high, so they are very much affordable. Much rarer are bigger dolls of over  a foot in length, made in the same fashion, but with heads of painted clay and more elaborate costumes. Dolls using raw Philippine materials are not just nostalgic souvenirs of childhood but wonderful examples of Philippine folk art.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

334. Space Wars: BUCK ROGERS BOARDGAME

Buck Rogers first appeared in a short novel published by Philip Francis Nowlan in an August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine "Amazing Stories". Entitled  "Armageddon", it featured a hero,Anthony Rogers, later renamed Buck Rogers when it was bought by the  National Newspaper Syndicate. comic made its first newspaper appearance in 1929 . The adventures of Buck Rogers in comic strips, movies, radio and television became an important part of American popular culture. It's been credited with bringing into popular media the concept of space exploration. Buck Rogers' last incarnation was as a film in 1979 and as a TV series in 1981, starring Gil Gerard. Many merchandise such as toys and playthings were spawned by the TV serial--and this 1930s gameboard is just one of the hundreds of thousands that children played with. It's one of those basic "race" games--the movement is controlled by a throw of a dice or a spinner, with obstacles provided by "alien enemies" along the way.There were 3 game versions:"Cosmic Rocket Wars", "Search for the Secrets of Atlantis" and "The Siege of Gigantica".